Baha’i UHJ promotes Islamophobia and Iranophobia

In light of the fiasco surrounding Faezah Hashemi in Iran, which I recently wrote about for Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/25/behind-the-politics-of-a-current-brouhaha-in-iran-an-ex-president-ayatollahs-daughter-and-the-bahais/, the Haifan Baha’i Universal House of Justice has lately stepped up its media campaign against Iran in the Western corporate media. Recently, and only one day before my Counterpunch article was published, the Haifa based supreme Baha’i body known as the Universal House of Justice issued the following letter to several of its Western National Spiritual Assemblies, https://ia601502.us.archive.org/8/items/UHJ_LETTERS/24May2016LobbyingAgainstIran.pdf

In these past two weeks since that letter, press releases demonizing Iran and distorting the issues have been published by Radio Free Europe, http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-un-authorities-incite-hatred-persecute-bahais/27786805.html and elsewhere which typically do not reference the Haifan Baha’i organization’s own documented and systematic promotion of Islamophobia and Iranophobia. Here I offer an example of Baha’i institutional Iranophobia/Islamophobia which targeted the late Hamid Taheri (an elderly expat Iranian living in Perth, Australia and who died in 2007) before his expulsion from the Baha’i cult in 2004. As is typical of most Iranians living abroad, Hamid Taheri had been participating in Persian cultural programs in his local community of Perth. One of these was a weekly local access cable television program discussing Iranian literature, poetry and culture. Hamid Taheri was first threatened by Baha’i authorites for his participation and told he was to sever his ties with “Iranian Muslims” in Perth. When he refused to comply, he was expelled from the cult with his family encouraged by Baha’i authorities to shun him (which technically is against the law in Australia).

Below I offer a scan of the original letter of the Australian National Spiritual Assembly sent to Hamid Taheri on 3 April 2002 and then below it the typescript. Note: this is not an isolated incident. Haifan Baha’i authorities -- and going all the way back to their founders -- regularly demonize Muslims and Iranians. As such, and contrary to the narrative promoted by several Anglophone-based liberal academics, such as Mohammad Tavakoli-Targhi and others, Baha’is themselves are quite conversant in the art of Othering. In a lopsided and totally tendentious academic conference held in Canada in 2011, which was funded by the Baha’i establishment, when an Iranian scholar at SOAS attending it attempted to remind the Baha’is of their own checkered history in that regard, especially in the murder and Othering of the Azali Babis during Baha’u’llah’s own lifetime, he was thrown out of the conference. 

Finally, please note that the individual responsible for penning this letter, Stephen Hall, is currently a member of the Baha’i Universal House of Justice in Haifa, occupied Palestine https://bahaikipedia.org/Stephen_Hall

 

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA'IS OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED

In reply please quote ref no: OPM/CD

3 April 2002 

Mr Hamid Taheri 
19 Dunbar Rd CLAREMONT WA 6010 
[(08) 938-45246]

Dear Baha'i Friend, 

The National Spiritual Assembly understands that you are involved in a weekly Iranian television programme in Perth, sponsored by an Iranian Muslim.

As you would undoubtedly be aware the House of Justice calls for Baha'is to exercise great caution in their relations with the Iranian community. The National Assembly has determined that your involvement in this programme is not wise. In the best interests of the Faith you should immediately cease your participation in this television programme.


Due to the need to protect the Faith in Australia the National Assembly feels it necessary to warn you that failure to comply with this instruction will result in the removal of your administrative rights. The National Assembly looks forward to receiving confirmation that you have discontinued this activity.


We take this opportunity to recommend that you re-familiarize yourself with the guidance of the Universal House of Justice in its letter dated June 18, 1999. A copy of this letter is enclosed.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA'IS OF AUSTRALIA INC.

Stephen Hall 
Secretary
 

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